Twenty-five years after releasing her debut album, Mary J. Blige has just delivered her 13th LP. The project, aptly titled Strength of a Woman, finds the 46-year-old singer addressing life’s struggles and the courage it takes to overcome them—be it career issues, haters, or her divorce from Kendu Isaacs.
During an interview with NPR, Blige opened up about the album, and discussed how songs like "Thick of It" helped her get through the hard times.
"It was hard because of the pain, but it was good to get it out. It made me cry, and then I had to go sing it and cry and get through it," she said. "But I believe that there's a purpose for me here on this earth, and I think it's so I can live and become these things so people can heal from them. I don't mind the pain. I don't mind it all, because it hurts so good. It hurts so good."
The 14-track project includes appearances by everyone from Kanye West (“Love Yourself”) to Kaytranada (“Telling the Truth)” to Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled, and Quavo (“Glow Up”). You can stream Strength of a Woman now on Apple Music or purchase it on iTunes.